News / Africa

Muslim Brotherhood Spokesman: Egypt Not Iran

Yemeni anti-government demonstrators chant slogans during a demonstration celebrating the resignation of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak and demanding the ouster of their own president, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb 12, 2011
Yemeni anti-government demonstrators chant slogans during a demonstration celebrating the resignation of Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak and demanding the ouster of their own president, in Sanaa, Yemen, Feb 12, 2011

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  • Esam Alarian, spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, spoke with Clottey

Peter Clottey

A prominent member of Egypt’s officially-banned Muslim Brotherhood’s Guidance Council has “sharply” denied his organization wants an Iranian-style administration, after anti-government demonstrations forced long-time President Hosni Mubarak to step down following 18-days of protests.

Esam Alarian, spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood, told VOA members of his organization are only interested in participating in parliamentary elections, not the presidential vote, as speculated by some international media organizations.

“Absolutely wrong; that is (a) false allegation. This is not true. We are calling for a civil state, moderate state, (and) a democratic state, equality, prosperity, justice for all and freedom for all citizens. All are equal. Egypt is not Iran. Egypt can build its own model of democracy according to its culture and Islamic preference.”

The Muslim Brotherhood has been officially banned as a political party in Egypt, but holds parliamentary seats through “independents.”

Alarian said the accusations against his organization are, in his words, completely false. He also said the Muslim Brotherhood is not in favor of what he described as foreign interference.

“We are against any international or foreigners interfering in our domestic or internal affairs. And for all foreigners, Americans and non-Americans, we are asking them not to intervene in our affairs, not to impose any orders or anything to the cabinet or the parliament. We are equal (and) we are looking forward to mutual relations with all people,” said Alarian.

“Foreign policy is done by the president and it is supervised and monitored by parliament, and we are not targeting to have a majority in parliament. So, the Egyptian people can decide, not (the) Muslim Brotherhood. The new Egypt is not by (the) Muslim Brotherhood alone; it will be made by all Egyptians, Muslims, and Christians, liberals, socialists, nationalists and Islamists.”

Egypt's military has dissolved parliament and suspended the constitution meeting two key demands by pro-democracy demonstrators.

The military leadership that took control when Mr. Mubarak stepped down Friday issued a statement Sunday saying it will temporarily govern for six months or until presidential and parliamentary elections are held. They are currently scheduled for September.

The statement was issued shortly after Egyptian Prime Minister Ahmed Shafiq said the top priority of his military-backed Cabinet is restoring security and a normal life in Egypt.

He also said several Cabinet posts remain vacant and promised that any new appointees will be thoroughly vetted to ensure they are satisfactory to the public.

The news conference was the prime minister's first since Mr. Mubarak stepped down Friday and handed power to the military under pressure from mass protests against his nearly 30-year rule. Mr. Mubarak appointed Mr. Shafiq as prime minister on January 29th four days after the protests began.

Egypt's new military rulers also attempted to restore normality to Cairo Sunday sending troops to dismantle a pro-democracy protest camp in the capital's Tahrir Square to make way for traffic to resume through the focal point of the uprising.

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